Senators look to ride momentum into rematch with Leafs

NHL

After overcoming a four-goal deficit to win the opener of a three-game series in overtime Monday, the Ottawa Senators will look for their third consecutive win Wednesday night when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Senators have won two in a row for the first time this season following a comeback victory Monday after they were down 5-1 late in the second period –and 5-2 entering the third period — to defeat the Maple Leafs 6-5.

Evgenii Dadonov scored the tying goal late in the third period with the goaltender removed for an extra attacker and notched the overtime winner on a breakaway.

“Give the guys credit for staying in the fight,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “We capitalized on our chances. There have been a lot of games where I’ve felt we played well, or played better than the other team, and didn’t win. Tonight is not one of those nights, but it was due to come our way.”

“We didn’t stop playing. We just played shift by shift and scored goal by goal,” said Dadonov, who blocked a shot in front of the Ottawa goal before setting out on his game-winning breakaway. “It hit me somewhere in the pants. I’ve played a lot and you know, sometimes, you get in a position where you get behind your own goalie, so you try to stop the puck.”

It is the first time the Senators have come back from a deficit of four or more goals in franchise history.

The Senators have won four games this season — two against the Maple Leafs. Toronto has defeated Ottawa once.

“We definitely blew this one, for sure,” said Auston Matthews, who had two goals and an assist for the Maple Leafs.

Matthews has at least one point in his past 13 games.

“I think it’s something that’s just been creeping into our game,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I thought that the nature of the way the game was going, it wasn’t everybody, but I think there was enough guys. We just gave the game to them at a time where they really had nothing happening. They really only got what we gave them.”

The teams will play the third game of the series Thursday night. Marcus Hogberg played in goal for Ottawa on Monday. Goaltender Matt Murray, who has missed two games with an upper-body injury, could play in one of the next two games. The Senators also expect defenseman Erik Brannstrom (upper body) to return after being injured on Feb. 8.

Momentum is with the Senators.

“That was awesome,” said Colin White, who had one assist for Ottawa. “I would have to say that’s my most memorable or favorite win I’ve had in the last three years. It was a special win tonight. It was a great third period by us.”

“When we got the fourth one, you could tell the bench was like, ‘Wow, we’re in this,'” Smith said. “It’s hard to believe when you are down the way we were, 5-1, and then all of a sudden we found our legs. That’s what momentum does. It gives you energy.”

Keefe acknowledged being concerned after the second period.

“Whether we won the game or not, I said after the second period it’s as bad I’ve felt about a 5-2 lead probably that I’ve ever had,” he said.

–Field Level Media

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